Annette Baier delivers an appeal for our fundamental moral notions to be governed not by rules and codes but by trust: a moral prejudice. Along the way, she gives us the best feminist philosophy there is. Baier’s topics range from violence to love, from cruelty to justice, and are linked by a preoccupation with vulnerability and inequality of vulnerability, with trust and distrust of equals, with cooperation and isolation. Throughout, she is concerned with the theme of women’s roles. In this provocative exploration of the implications of trusting to trust rather than proscription, Baier interweaves anecdote and autobiography with readings of Hume and Kant to produce an entertaining, challenging, and highly readable book.
[Baier’s book is] likely to be widely read by moral philosophers in the next hundred years. Anscombe, MacIntyre, Schneewind, Williams, and other contemporary philosophers have expressed well-founded suspicions about the value of moral philosophy as it has been practiced in the English-speaking world since the days of Sidgwick. But Baier goes a step beyond these suspicions. It is her feminism, and the attention which feminism brings with it to specific, concrete injustices, that have enabled her to do so. She offers not just suspicion, but an original, constructive, promising new account of the place of moral philosophy in culture.
Baier’s book is a brilliant contribution to contemporary moral philosophy: clear, undogmatic, yet still rigorous… She writes both as a philosopher and as a woman but she hastens to add that female moral philosophers will have the same goal as men: to formulate a theory acceptable to everybody, i.e. to both women and men.
The collection represents much of the best that good philosophy can offer: deeply felt engagement, an unusual and personal style, and constructive and imaginative suggestions, along with the recognition that much remains to be done and that it can be best done cooperatively. With writers like Annette Baier around, there is no danger of moral or philosophical stagnation.
- 384 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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